Steve Brown, PsyD, recently presented three workshops at the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers 28th Annual Research and Treatment Conference. His day long Pre Conference Workshop was entitled “Does Our Treatment with Sexually Abusive Youth Encourage Healthy Sexual Development? Do We Care? Does It Matter?”
Why do sexually abusive youth often emerge from treatment programs with a sophisticated knowledge of what not to do with their sexual feelings, but little information about healthy sexual expression? Why do some equate any sexual expression with deviant sexuality? We know that these youth will return to the community and having romantic and sexual relationships, yet few interventions focus on skills related to healthy sexuality. This workshop will grapple with these questions, offer recommendations, and demonstrate strategies that promote healthy sexual development in sexually abusive youth.
He also presented two workshops: The Restorative Approach™ An Alternative to Point and Level Systems with Sexually Abusive Youth
Congregate care treatment programs for youth with sexual behavior problems are becoming increasingly aware of the severe trauma and multiple attachment disruptions experienced by the youth they serve. For these youth, traditional “point and level” behavior management systems often “get in the way” of treatment progress rather than facilitate healing.
In contrast, the Restorative Approach (RA) is a trauma-informed and attachment-based treatment approach that is an alternative to traditional point and level systems used in congregate care settings. Rooted in the principles of restorative justice, the basic tenet of RA is that relationships provide the strongest motivation for people to change – relational rewards and consequences are far more powerful that points and levels.
This workshop discussed the problems with traditional point and level systems in congregate care settings for sexually abusive youth; outlined the principles underlying the Restorative Approach; discussed how this approach fits within the broader national trend of “trauma-informed” care; explained how the Restorative Approach is operationalized on a daily basis in residential settings; and provided an opportunity to apply the RA principles to actual client cases.
Finally, he presented a workshop on Stop It Now!’s Online Help Center – “24/7” Virtual Sexual Abuse Prevention
Stop It Now! is a non-profit organization, founded in 1992, whose mission is to stop the sexual abuse of children before there is a child victim to heal or an offender to punish. By focusing on adults, Stop It Now!’s unique approach shifts the onus away from children needing to speak up to protect themselves and onto the adults that have the power and primary responsibility to recognize and act to stop sexual abuse. In 2009, Stop It Now! launched the internet’s first and only Online Help Center to bring Now!’s sexual abuse prevention messages to hundreds of thousand more people in the United States and worldwide. While Now!’s staffed Helpline was a powerful tool, many people are not yet ready to call a Helpline and talk with someone in person. Therefore, the idea of the Online Help Center was to creatively and cost-effectively provide adults with easy, anonymous, online access to tailored information, guidance and resources for preventing child sexual abuse. In addition, human service professionals very frequently encounter complicated and concerning situations related to child sexual abuse where there is not enough information to trigger a mandatory report. The Online Help Center provides a central place, “one stop shopping” if you will, to get state-of-the-art and comprehensive information related to the complexities of child sexual abuse that has been gleaned from fifteen years of experience of calls to the staffed Stop It Now! Helpline.
This workshop introduced participants to the principles underlying Stop It Now!’s work; discussed the rationale for the Online Help Center; took participants on a “guided tour” of the Help Center; explored specific scenarios related to child sexual abuse and the information that could be gained via the Help Center; and discussed the Help Center many uses and applications.